Livestock Market Reform Fair, Balanced? You Decide

When two sides tell very different stories about a proposal, it’s best to read it for yourself.
A proposed USDA regulation would prevent discrimination against small producers by meatpackers.  It says if a packer offers a premium to one producer, it should offer the same to others who can meet the standard on which the premium is based.

Critics have attacked the proposal claiming it blocks premiums for quality livestock.  I say, not true, it provides a level playing field by allowing all producers the same opportunity to earn quality premiums.  But you decide.  Here’s USDA’s proposal (also at

"The Secretary may consider the following criteria, among others, in determining if an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage, or an undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage, has occurred in violation of the (1921 Packers and Stockyards) Act:

(a)   Whether contract terms based on number, volume or other condition, or contracts with price determined in whole or in part by the volume of livestock sold are made available to all poultry growers, livestock producers or swine production contract growers who individually or collectively meet the conditions set by the contract.

(b)   Whether price premiums based on standards for product quality, time of delivery and production methods are offered in a manner that does not discriminate against a producer or group of producers that can meet the same standards.

Does it block quality premiums or level the playing field? Agree or disagree? Send me a comment at or 402.687.2100.

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